TCM Picks for the Week of June 11, 2018

It seems like I write this every week, but it's another great week at TCM. The network is airing director Sergio Leone's dollars trilogy on Wednesday night, there's a great lineup of star-of-the-month Leslie Howard's movies on Monday, plus Father's Day flicks on Sunday and the Mad About Musicals spotlight continues on Tuesday and Thursday with Easter Parade (1948), On the Town (1949), and more. Note: All times are ET and the highlighted text has links to full-length articles.

Here's a link to the complete schedule for June 11-June 17,

Star of the Month Leslie Howard (Monday prime time and late night)

TCM is airing three of Howard's best movies plus a Shakespearean tragedy and melodrama with frequent costar Norma Shearer. Here's the lineup:
Pygmalion (1938) at 8 pm Monday: The musical My Fair Lady is, of course, wonderful, but this non-singing version of George Bernard Shaw's witty play is the definitive screen adaptation with both Howard and Wendy Hiller as Eliza Doolittle excelling in their roles.
Of Human Bondage (1934) at 9:45 pm: Howard plays a sensitive medical student who embarks on a bizarre relationship with a slovenly waitress (Bette Davis) in this W. Somerset Maugham adaptation. Always a generous actor,  Howard allowed Davis to give a fiery, unforgettable performance that made her the most sought after actress in Hollywood.
Romeo and Juliet (1937) at 11:15 pm: Both Howard and Norma Shearer are too old to play Shakespeare's passionate teens (not to mention John Barrymore as Mercutio), but Howard does do a fine job with the verse. Edna May Oliver gives the performance of the film as the Nurse, but Basil Rathbone as Tybalt ain't too shabby either.
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) at 1:30 am: Howard plays a foppish aristocrat who leads a double life during the French Revolution in this charming costumer that is simply one of the best films of the 1930s. 
A Free Soul (1931) at 3:15 am: Howard plays Shearer's long-suffering fiance (she practically runs over him to start trysting with bad boy Clark Gable) in this courtroom melodrama that won Lionel Barrymore a best actor Academy Award for his showy performance as an alcoholic defense lawyer.

Mad About Musicals, Tuesday June 12th daytime 

Judy Garland and Fred Astaire in Easter Parade (1948).

TCM is going Mad About Musicals throughout June. The network is offering a free course from Canvas Network and TCM is airing musicals all-day each Tuesday and Thursday.  The Tuesday daytime lineup features Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, and Fred Astaire.
Best Foot Forward (1943) at 6 am Tuesday: Musicals star June Allyson made her big-screen debut in this charming Broadway transfer about a movie star (Lucille Ball) who shows up in a small town to go to a dance with a teenage fan (Tommy Dix).
Word and Music (1948) at 8 am: A sappy biopic about composer Richard Rodgers (Mickey Rooney) and lyricist Lorenz Hart (Tom Drake). The best moment is Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen dancing to "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue."
For Me and My Gal (1942) at 10:30 am: Kelly's film debut, this snappy flag-waver about a vaudeville couple during the early days of World War I has a fun nostalgic score.
The Harvey Girls (1946) at 12:30 pm: Garland is the star, but Angela Lansbury steals the show in this Western romp about the waitresses who helped civilize the frontier. Judy performs the Oscar-winning tune, "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe" with gusto.
The Pirate (1948) at 2:30 pm: This fantasy musical from director Vincente Minnelli and star/choreographer Gene Kelly is about a young Caribbean woman (Garland) who believes she's found out the identity of a legendary pirate. Opinions vary on this one, but I think it's both too arty and too much of a spoof, although Garland has a couple of great number ("Mack the Black," and "Be a Clown").
Easter Parade (1948) at 4:15 pm: This beloved holiday classic was the comeback vehicle for Astaire, who came out of retirement to play a vaudeville trooper who has to scramble after his dance partner (Ann Miller) moves on to better things. A lot of great stuff here, but there's nothing more heartwarming than Garland warbling the title tune in the final scenes.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) at 6 pm: Esther Williams plays a spunky baseball team owner (Gene Kelly, Jules Munshin, and Frank Sinatra are her star players) in this turn-of-the-century musical.

Mad About Musicals Tuesday June 12th prime time and late night

Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, and Gene Kelly on the Brooklyn Bridge while filming On the Town (1949).

The forties movies continue:
On the Town (1949) at 8 pm Tuesday: The landmark Broadway show became a landmark musical co-directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly that was partially filmed on location in New York City.
Cabin in the Sky (1942) at 10 pm: This musical with an all African-American cast is somewhat dated, but still worth watching for the exceptional roster of talent that includes Lena Horne, Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington.
Strike Up the Band (1940) at midnight: A typical Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney backstager, the pair are trying to enter their dance orchestra in a national competition sponsored by bandleader Paul Whiteman (who plays himself).
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) at 2:15 am: Director Vincente Minnelli's bittersweet film about a year in the life of a turn-of-the-century Missouri family is a masterpiece from start to finish. "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" are among the memorable songs.
Good News (1947) at 4:15 am: This fun musical about college life in the 1920s features Peter Lawford as the star football player and June Allyson as the librarian who loves him. Dancer Joan McCracken slays in the "Pass the Peace Pipe" number.

Happy Heavenly Birthday to Basil Rathbone (Wednesday, June 13 daytime)

This versatile actor was born Philip St. John Basil Rathbone on June 13, 1892, in Johannesburg. He played everything from a tortured musician in the pre-code melodrama A Notorious Affair (1930) at 6 am Wednesday to literary characters like Count Karenin in the Greta Garbo version of Anna Karenina (1935) at 9:45 am and Murdstone in David Copperfield (1935) at 11:30 am. He was a memorable villain in the Charles Dickens adaptation A Tale of Two Cities (1935) at 1:45 pm and swashbucklers Captain Blood (1935) at 4 pm and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) at 6:15 pm, but he will always be remembered for his iconic portrayal of detective Sherlock Holmes. TCM is airing two Holmes films on Wednesday: The Woman in Green (1945) at 7:15 am and Sherlock Holmes in Dressed to Kill (1946) at 8:30 am.

The Dollars Trilogy (Wednesday, June 13 prime time and late night)

The Western genre was in the doldrums when an Italian director named Sergio Leone decided to remake Akira Kurosawa's samurai film Yojimbo (1961) with a relatively unknown TV actor named Clint Eastwood. The result was A Fistful of Dollars (1964) at 8 pm and two more classic of the Spaghetti Western genre: For a Few Dollars More (1965) at 10 pm, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968) at 12:30 am. The clip above features Ennio Morricone's unforgettable score for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Mad About Musicals, Thursday June 14 daytime

Rita Hayworth and Fred Astaire in You Were Never Lovelier (1942)

The forties musicals continue:
Bathing Beauty (1944) at 6 am Thursday: This musical comedy's aquacade number  made synchronized swimmer Esther Williams a star.
That Midnight Kiss (1949) at 8 am: Tenor Mario Lanza was a popular musicals star in the late 1940s and early 1950s. That Midnight Kiss is a highly romanticized version of Lanza's own life's story. He grew up in Philadelphia as the son of poor Italian immigrants, until, as a teenager, his singing talent was noticed by wealthy arts patrons a la Ethel Barrymore in the film.
Two Sisters from Boston (1946) at 9:45 am: MGM's other operatic star was Kathryn Grayson. She was frequently teamed with Lanza, but she also made musicals of her own, such as this funny film about a young woman who wants to join the Metropolitan Opera but ends up as a saloon singer.
Two Girls and a Sailor (1944) at 11:45 am: June Allyson brought her particular brand of perkiness to several MGM musicals in the 1940s, including this film about two sisters (Allyson and Gloria DeHaven) who open a canteen for World War II servicemen (the sailor in this case is Van Johnson).
You Were Never Lovelier (1942) at 2 pm: After Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers parted ways in 1939, Astaire was paired with a breathtaking Rita Hayworth in two films.
My Dream Is Yours (1949) at 3:45 pm: Big-band singer Doris Day revived the Warner Bros. musical in the late 1940s in films like this one about an eager young woman who longs to become a radio star.
Anchors Aweigh (1945) at 5:30 pm: Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra play two sailors who help none other than Grayson get her big break. This is the film in which Kelly dances with the cartoon mouse, Jerry.

Mad About Musicals, Thursday June 14 prime time and late night

Joan Leslie, James Cagney, and Jeanne Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) at 8 pm Thursday: James Cagney gives an electrifying Oscar-winning performance in this flag-waving biopic of Broadway showman George M. Cohan. 
Holiday Inn (1942) at 10:15 pm: Best known for introducing the world to "White Christmas" this holiday classic starring Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Virginia Dale, and Marjorie Reynolds also features a fine version of "Easter Parade" warbled by Der Bingle and Astaire's memorable firecracker dance on  Independence Day.
Moon Over Miami (1941) at 12:15 am: Pin-up Betty Grable was a mega-star in the 1940s in films like this musical comedy about two fortune-hunting sisters (Grable and Carole Landis) who head to a Florida resort in the hopes of nabbing a rich man.
Hollywood Canteen (1944) at 2 am: This all-star musical revue about the famous Hollywood spot for World War II service personnel has a lot of great moments, including Roy Rogers (with Trigger) warbling "Don't Fence Me In."
Rhapsody in Blue (1945) at 4:15 am: A fairly engrossing biopic about composer George Gershwin (Robert Alda) that includes several of his real-life collaborators, most notably Oscar Levant.

GIF of the Week (Friday, June 15 daytime)

A Woman's Face (1941) at 12:30 pm Friday: Osa Massen takes a beating from Joan Crawford in this fascinating film noir/woman's picture about a disfigured woman (Crawford) who is transformed by a kindly plastic surgeon (Melvyn Douglas). 

Saturday Morning Matinee, June 16th edition

Lex Barker and Vanessa Brown in Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950)

Saturday morning matinees at the local movie theater were a beloved part of childhood for many who grew up in the 1930s through 1950s. TCM is now recreating those matinees with cartoons, shorts, and action-adventure movies from 8 am to noon every Saturday morning. Highlights for this week are golf legend Bobby Jones giving pro tips in a Vitaphone short, Lex Barker as the lord of the jungle in Tarzan and the Slave Girl (the bananas plot involves Jane (Vanessa Brown) being kidnapped by a Lion-worshiping cult), the Popeye cartoon Axe Me Another and the early Three Stooges short Nertsery Rhymes (1933).

Noir Alley, June 16th edition

Pitfall (1948) at 12:15 am Saturday night/Sunday morning and 10 am Sunday: Bored insurance investigator Dick Powell spices up his dull routine with model Lizabeth Scott despite the fact that he is married with a young son. Watch for Raymond Burr as a great heavy and references to the now defunct May Company department stores.

Celebrate Father's Day With TCM (Sunday, June 17, daytime and prime time)

Irene Dunne and William Powell in Life With Father (1947)

TCM is airing an all-day lineup of movies featuring several beloved old Hollywood dads. There's Lewis Stone in Judge Hardy and Son (1939) at 6 am, Spencer Tracy in Father of the Bride (1950) at noon and Father's Little Dividend (1951) at 2 pm, and Glenn Ford in The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963) at 8 pm. Finally, it wouldn't be Father's Day on TCM without the annual airing of the beloved film Life With Father (1947) at 10:15 pm, starring William Powell as the patriarch of an eccentric turn-of-the-century clan.

Silent Sunday Nights June 17th edition

Harold Lloyd in An Eastern Westerner (1920)

Tonight's lineup features three Harold Lloyd shorts starting at midnight Sunday night/Monday morning. First is An Eastern Westerner in which Lloyd plays a posh greenhorn who is shipped off to a dude ranch by his exasperated parents. Next is the daredevil comedy High and Dizzy (1920) and Number, Please? (1920) in which Lloyd plays a young go-getter who tries to impress a girl (Mildred Davis) by catching her loose dog.